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52 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, the best book I've ever read.
I first bought this book simply because I had read the Hitchhiker series, and wanted to read more of Douglas's writing. Little did I know that it would change my view on a lot of environmental issues. This book shows Douglas Adams's compassion for our fellow creatures on this planet, yet has so much humour and insight it is astonishing. I've never been one to read a book...
Published on 4 Jun. 2001 by alf@macx.no

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0 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Great Chance to Learn...
Last Chance to See is a great way to learn about biogeography. This is a basic beginners book giving you an idea about spiecies, survival and location. It has some funny moments but the message is serious - we are killing off many creatures in many ways read this first then read Song of the Dodo. You'll never think about us in the same way again.
Published on 17 April 1999


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52 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, the best book I've ever read., 4 Jun. 2001
By 
alf@macx.no (Bergen, Norway) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Last Chance to See.... (Paperback)
I first bought this book simply because I had read the Hitchhiker series, and wanted to read more of Douglas's writing. Little did I know that it would change my view on a lot of environmental issues. This book shows Douglas Adams's compassion for our fellow creatures on this planet, yet has so much humour and insight it is astonishing. I've never been one to read a book many times, apart from the Hitchhiker books. This one I've worn out once and I am now well in to the second. If you do nothing else this year, read this book. It will be well worth the time.
Douglas Adams, just like some of the species you mention in this book you left us too soon. The world is indeed a sadder place without you. So long, and may you find peace wherever you are.
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51 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Do yourself and your world a favour - Read this book!, 20 Aug. 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Last Chance to See.... (Paperback)
This book is an absolute must read. You really do not have a choice. Written by "that" Douglas Adams, with considerable input from Mark, this book will change the way you think - if you can think at all.

Adams' style is recognisable throughout to those who read his fiction, but his humour does not detract in any way from the serious message. That it not to say that you are presented with a lecture. Adams relates the story of his travels with Mark Carwadine to visit some of the world's rarest creatures, in a way that enables all of us to gain an insight into the precarious state of some of our world's inhabitants.

The title of the book is all too descriptive. It is a while since I read the book, and my hope is that all the animals and birds featured are still around. Certainly, unless action is taken, some of these creatures will struggle to see out the next 5 years, never mind the next generation. For those who do not appreciate just how rare some of these creatures are - we are talking very small numbers (less than 20 in many cases). The upside is that many of the animals in the book are receiving attention - the downside, as often, is maybe too little too late. And of course, there are all the others...

Enough of my ranting. This book is a really good read, and can be taken in one sitting if you are that way inclined. It is laugh-out-loud funny, yet the subject matter means it has more than its fair share of poignancy. It is an eye-opener, even to those of us who think our eyes are already open!

Essential reading for everyone, most will learn things they never envisaged, or perhaps did not want to believe, and many I am sure, will change their ways to the benefit of the whole world and all its creatures - ourselves included.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely fantastic!, 12 Jan. 2002
This review is from: Last Chance to See.... (Paperback)
I read this book in three days. I just couldn't put it down. Adams is funny and touching. Mark's input and the knowledge that is included in the book make this a highly informative and enlightening read. The tone is never preaching, although it certainly makes you realise just what we're doing to the planet. This text manages to stir your conscience and be wildly funny at the same time!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wild and Furry, 1 July 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Last Chance to See.... (Paperback)
Whilst reading this book you are never very sure if Douglas Adams actually likes wildlife, nature and all its trappings. He regards his winged and furry subject matter with a mixture of awe, bewilderment and a whole lot of humour. I loved this book for Adams' ability to instruct without being patronising or boring. But, I hate the man for getting there first!!! Worth a read even if you're not particularly interested in the wildlife of our planet.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful kick in the pants, 5 Mar. 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Last Chance to See.... (Paperback)
If the measure of a book's worth is the strength of the urge to 'get out and do something' that it gives you, then LAST CHANCE... is way up there with the best of them.
Part of Douglas Adams' brilliance was his ability to make us care about anything he happened to think of: a depressed android, a whale with an incredibly short life-span, Vogon poetry, etc. In LAST CHANCE... he lends his charm to things someone else thought of: the kakapo, komodo dragons, silverback gorillas, Zairean tourist-relations... Along with zoologist Mark Carwardine he goes off in search of several different animals all doing their level best to survive in a world of men which is closing in around them. He breathes life into them, makes them real, makes you care... And then the guilt kicks in.
This book is for anyone - like me - who has ever thought: 'why do they go on about saving rhinos? If they were meant to survive, they would'. Anyone who has ever used a lazy nod to evolution to justify their own mean-spiritedness. It will put the beauty and wonder back in your life; make you realise that the world rests on a greater foundation than that beneath your own shoes.
Makes you think, makes you laugh, makes you act. What more is there?
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Reading, 5 Aug. 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Last Chance to See.... (Paperback)
Rarely has a book containing such an important message been such a compelling and enjoyable read. Some passages have made me laugh out loud until the tears trickle down my cheeks - much to the consternation of fellow train passangers! As you finish each chapter you cannot help but move onto the next. But all the time, whilst you are enjoying a master storyteller working at his peak, the serious underlying message is clearly stated. Everyone should read this book. They will enjoy it and, at the same time, most will learn from it and modify their behaviour accordingly. I hope we can look back in 50 years time and say that this book played a part in saving the world we have inherited for our children and grandchildren.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't blink!, 16 July 2006
By 
Stephen A. Haines (Ottawa, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Last Chance to See (Paperback)
Somewhere in the depths of its vast corporate wisdom, the Guardian/Observer news organisation found a pearl of good sense. The pearl hatched a precious jewel of an idea. Send Douglas Adams, creator of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, accompanied by zoologist Mark Carwadine, to seek out some of the Earth's disappearing species. His account is classic Adams, with vivid description, poignant observations and incisive study of the people and places he encountered. The age of this book is of small account, even with the "Mark's Last Word" update segment closing the book. The book remains a pleasure to read.

Starting by his admission that he was "entirely qualified" for his role as "an extremely ignorant non-zoologist", Adams then describes their visit to Madagascar to find the aye-aye. A nocturnal lemur that "seems to be assembled from bits of other animals". He notes that the island was bypassed by the monkeys due to continental drift. It was the lemurs that occupied the aboreal environment. This was fine for the lemus until a different monkey, humans, arrived and began cutting down the trees. The lemurs, having fewer places left to hide, are increasingly constrained for habitat. This, of course, is the theme of the entire book.

The touring team moves through Southeast Asia to view the komodo, which may be the origin of the many "dragon" myths. Komodos are eating machines. Adams description of the way tourists are entertained by feasting komodos isn't something for the squeamish. Yet as he rightly points out, there is a tourist dollar factor to consider in how some disappearing species are to be saved. Government action is to be considered, but when wildlife becomes symbolic to a regime, endangered animals are just as likely to be further threatened. A "Leapordskin Pillbox Hat" resting on a President's head isn't the best example of conservation of species.

Of all the poignant accounts in this narrative, the kakapo must rate very high in our concern. Adams sets the scene with a vivid description of New Zealand's South Island - a place to "make your brain quiver". Landing a helicopter in that landscape also makes the brain quiver as Adams account of flying onto a ridge top demonstrates. His radio operator refuses to look over the edge while interviewing the pilot. But all the skilful piloting is of no avail as the team seeks the object of their quest. A strange, flightless bird, whose mating call was like "A Heartbeat in the Night", no longer offers his call from the ridge top. The kakapo, which inhabited the mountains for millennia, mate infrequently in a courtship beset with difficulties. With no natural predators, they failed to adapt to human-introduced dogs, cats and rats. Consequently, the population is down to about forty individuals when Adams visited New Zealand. In this case, a government has expended much effort in protecting this plump, lonely bird. An island suffered an extinction due to New Zealand's conservation efforts - it killed every cat on it. Free of predators, the island is now home to all the kakapos in existence. Every parrot bears a number tag, and a name. We meet finger-chewing Ralph whose sharp, powerful beak that never did duty as a defensive weapon.

Adams travelled to Africa to find rhinos and China to locate baiji dolphins in the murky Yangtze River. The rhinos almost escaped his gaze, but the baiji remained out of sight. The silty river caused the dolphins to adapt their hearing to life in the dark, but the multitude of noises created by human boats confuse them. The slaughter of dolphins by boat propellers is exterminating them. More active disturbances by our species have already extinguished the dodo on the island of Mauritius. Other species face similar fates. Adams encounters one of conservation's more exotic figures, Carl Jones [who also received attention from David Quammen in "Song of the Dodo"]. Jones' methods of preserving the Mauritius kestrel provides Adams with one of the most hilarious accounts in the book. How well Jones has succeeded remains to be determined.

The book is a delightful read, but that doesn't distract from the seriousness of the issue, nor Adams dedication to species preservation. Graced with some enchanting photographs, this highly personalised account still captures the reader's heart. [stephen a. haines - Ottawa, Canada]
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic read, 24 Aug. 2001
This review is from: Last Chance to See.... (Paperback)
This is a wonderful book and it was a shame to have to finish it! Very enjoyable , the book also includes a large number of colour photos from their adventures, which certainly add a great deal to the writing.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superbly brilliant..., 6 Nov. 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: Last Chance to See.... (Paperback)
I was recommended this book as part of my ecotourism degree and the more i read, the less i could put it down. It was a superb insight into the world we know so little about under the surface. An interesting, highly informative read with an amusing side which never mocks the message but only contributes to the thought-provoking story that is the severity of the rapid disappearance of these unique animals.
A book to make you laugh and cry...
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read, 24 Sept. 2005
By 
Marc G (London, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Last Chance to See.... (Paperback)
The funniest serious book on the market, if you like D.A., do read this book! Adams beautifully describes the difficulties encountered when travelling in less developed countries and trying to come to terms with Natural History! In his naive, mostly harmless way. People in the train thought I was mad....
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Last Chance To See by Mark Carwardine (Paperback - 10 Sept. 2009)
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